by Vincent Costello
When slack-rocker Mac Demarco released This Old Dog in 2017, it seemed as though he was finally maturing in his sound and lyrical quality. But with his newest album Here Comes The Cowboy, he has simply recycled the 2017 record’s style and process, resulting in a project that sounds like a complete rewrite of This Old Dog. Despite the lack of evolution in Mac’s sound, there are definitely some chilled-out catchy tunes on this LP that stand out in the Mac Demarco discography. Unfortunately, a lot of the tracks feel like leftovers from his previous efforts; the lack of substance in a lot of the songs makes the album as a whole feel flat and mildly boring.
When the album’s first single ‘Nobody’ came out, there was a noticeable style that Mac was going for. He wanted to use the slacker type of songwriting where whatever is being repeated is just interesting enough to keep the listener vibing with the tune. With ‘Nobody,’ this style works, with its wobbly sounds coming in and out and a little mix up with the short, unsettling and melancholy chorus that fills out the song. But for most of the non-singles, the tunes just aren’t quite there to use this style. From the almost meme-like song ‘Choo Choo’ to the slower ‘Heart to Heart’, the repetition completely ruins what the song had going for it. There is nothing wrong with repeating parts of a song, and some of these tunes are the most catchy and interesting Mac has ever written, but they just linger on way too long. The title track has a very catchy, little country style groove and is interesting for the first 20 times he repeats the riff and the line “Here comes the cowboy,” but two and a half minutes in it gets flat and boring. It seems as though he might have just been caught up in his slack-rock style a little too much here. It is also not like Mac was not capable or not talented enough to add more to the songs as many songs on here have many sections and layers to them.
When Mac does hone in on his songwriting skills, he pops out some of the best tunes he has ever put out. As each single came out, each one seemed to get more layered and interesting. With the second single ‘All Of Our Yesterdays,’ the catchy chorus and the rock-based vibe really adds depth to the album. With the third and last single ‘On The Square,’ the song’s groovy bass and well placed synth fills make this my personal favorite on the album. It even has multiple sections to the song which to me is a delicacy on any song. Another stand out track is ‘Finally Alone.’ Even though it just sounds like an outtake of his last album, it would have been a single-worthy outtake. Lastly, the album ends on a great note with ‘Bye Bye Bye.’ It’s got a great song structure to end the album. It starts with a country groove, then on to the laid back and melancholy chorus, and then an ending two part jam that makes this the most layered tune on the album.
Mac has released his most laid-back, repetitive album yet that has enough standout tracks to keep it afloat. The singles got me excited to see the more layered and repetitive side of Mac, but I was left with a little too much repetition and not enough layers that created a bunch of flat and boring tunes. The entire time I’m listening I can’t help but notice how similar it is to This Old Dog and it makes me want to listen to that album more than it makes me want to listen to more of Here Comes The Cowboy. But tracks like ‘Bye Bye Bye’ and ‘On The Square’ keep this album from being completely flat and DeMarco manages to keep a certain vibe throughout that makes each listen feel complete and finished.